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Location: Austin, TX
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Re: Sewing machine corner
If you have room and the time to wait, sometimes a Singer 111W155 becomes available on craigslist. The 111W155 is an industrial compound walking-foot machine. My earlier post on compound walking-foot machines on this thread might be helpful.
The disadvantages include: used, likely heavily used; $500 might be about as good as you could do (I got one with a clutch motor for $325); probably not be equipped with a servo motor; no reverse.
Also, seeming lightly used Sailrite LS machines can sometimes be found for about $500 on craigslist.
Actually, trading off lack of reverse for compound-feed can be a good trade off. The most common use of reverse is back-tack to lock the stitch. Here's what old-time professional sewers did before reverse. When fabric management is not an issue, simply bury the needle, turn the fabric 180 degrees and sew over the seam to lock the stitch. Otherwise, with the needle up, raise the foot a bit, pull the fabric toward you about an inch, drop the foot and sew over the stitch to lock the stitch. Raising the foot slightly does not open the tension discs, and enough tension is retained on the needle thread that the thread does not need to be held.
Having said that, reverse is useful in other situations to help mitigate fabric management, such as sewing around a patch, especially in the middle of a large piece. Needing to turn the fabric a total of 360 degrees is a real hassle trying to get lots material under the arm. Instead, sew one side of the patch, bury the needle, turn the fabric 90 degrees counter-clockwise and sew the next side, bury the needle, turn the fabric 90 degrees clockwise and sew the third side in reverse, bury the needle, turn the material 90 degrees counter-clockwise and sew the final side.
In your search, you might also consider a Juki 562 or 563 (the 563 has a larger bobbin). The design is similar to the 111W and the quality seems just as good.
Last edited by TejasSailer; 12-23-2013 at 03:32 PM.